Geography

Area: 438,317 sq. km; about twice the size of Idaho.
Cities: Capital--Baghdad (5.7 million, 2004 estimate). Other cities--Basrah, Mosul, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil. Terrain: Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in the south with large flooded areas; mountains along the borders with Iran and Turkey.
Climate: Desert, mostly hot and dry.

 

 

People and Economy

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Iraqi(s).
Population (July 2011 est.): 30,399,572.
Population growth rate (2011 est.): 2.399%.
Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurd 15%-20%, Turkoman, Chaldean, Assyrian, or others approximately 5%.
Religions: Muslim 97% (Shi’a 60%-65%; Sunni 32%-37%), Christian and others approximately 3%.
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian, Armenian.
Education: Years compulsory--primary school (age 6 through grade 6). Literacy (2006 UNESCO est.)--74.1%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--41.68 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--70.55 yrs.

Economy
Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: October 15, 2005.
Independence: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from British administration under a League of Nations mandate. Several coups after 1958 resulted in dictatorship, with the Ba’ath Party seizing power in 1963 and again in 1968. From July 1979 to March 2003, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed administrative and security responsibility for Iraq following the March-April 2003 overthrow of the regime, while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional government. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government. A new 4-year, constitutionally based government took office in March 2006, and a new cabinet was installed in May 2006. On June 31, 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas, a step that reinforced Iraqi sovereignty. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held a second round of national elections to choose the members of the Council of Representatives and, in turn, the executive branch of government.
Branches: Executive--Presidency Council (one president and up to three vice presidents; Council of Ministers (one prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, and 43 cabinet ministers). Legislative--Council of Representatives (COR) consisting of 325 members.Judicial--Supreme Court appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by the Council of Representatives.
Divisions: 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah)--Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit. One region--the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: October 15, 2005.
Independence: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from British administration under a League of Nations mandate. Several coups after 1958 resulted in dictatorship, with the Ba’ath Party seizing power in 1963 and again in 1968. From July 1979 to March 2003, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed administrative and security responsibility for Iraq following the March-April 2003 overthrow of the regime, while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional government. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government. A new 4-year, constitutionally based government took office in March 2006, and a new cabinet was installed in May 2006. On June 31, 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas, a step that reinforced Iraqi sovereignty. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held a second round of national elections to choose the members of the Council of Representatives and, in turn, the executive branch of government.
Branches: Executive--Presidency Council (one president and up to three vice presidents; Council of Ministers (one prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, and 43 cabinet ministers). Legislative--Council of Representatives (COR) consisting of 325 members.Judicial--Supreme Court appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by the Council of Representatives.
Divisions: 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah)--Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit. One region--the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Iraq

U.S. Seeks to Punish Iraqi Militias That Targeted Protesters With Iran’s Help (Fri, 06 Dec 2019)
The new penalties will likely have little direct impact on the militiamen, but could pose a thorny dilemma for Baghdad’s next leaders.
>> Read more

A Reporter’s Search for the Truth About Cluster-Munition Deaths (Fri, 06 Dec 2019)
John Ismay spent five years tracking American service member deaths caused by cluster munitions. This is what got him started on his investigation.
>> Read more

País por país, Irán destruye la libertad (Thu, 05 Dec 2019)
Sin embargo, los movimientos sociales en Irán, Irak y otras naciones siguen reclamando y manifestándose por sus derechos.
>> Read more

Iran Is Secretly Moving Missiles Into Iraq, U.S. Officials Say (Wed, 04 Dec 2019)
The buildup of a hidden arsenal of short-range missiles is the latest sign that American efforts to deter Iran have largely failed.
>> Read more

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